Soul-searching at CBS? Well, we’ll see what happens to Fenton. From Accuracy in Media, with thanks to Nicolei and RB:
“We know we could have saved thousands of lives if we had done more to bring the public’s attention to the threat of an Al-Qaeda attack in the years before 9/11. What we must ask now is why did we fail?”
That startling statement is made by CBS News Senior Foreign Correspondent Tom Fenton in his just released book “Bad News: The Decline of Reporting, The Business of News, and The Danger to Us All.” This fascinating insider’s account of broadcast news serves up 9/11 as a wake-up call to those concerned over declining standards in media. He says, “CBS News like most of the broadcast news industry, had been sliding blithely downhill for years; for me it was the failure of my own profession that cut deepest.”
Fenton and his colleagues had been tracking stories about Al-Qaeda and its allied networks for more than a decade, but they rarely reported what they knew on network news — “because much of the time, our bosses didn’t consider such developments newsworthy.”
I got breaking news for you, Tom: they still don’t.
When it comes to media failures, Fenton contends the real questions are “the ones that go to the heart of the system” and “never get asked.” He asks, “Do media organs give us enough of the truth (otherwise known as news) or do they consistently miss large, crucial chunks of it? Do they even know what real news is?”
Excellent question. It seems that they don’t, and I have written about this just recently.
Accuracy in Media is on the case:
Fenton’s account is fascinating, but it’s not the first time such questions have been raised. Accuracy in Media is one group that has focused on media’s failure to do proactive reporting on terrorism. Even years after 9/11 we’re still getting “after the fact” reporting-after a tragedy, or after a Justice Department or FBI announcement of an indictment, arrest or investigation.
But consider the case of Florida professor Sami Al-Arian and his alleged role in the terrorist group, Islamic Jihad. Al-Arian was under scrutiny by journalist Steven Emerson long before most American media even knew who he was. Emerson is still the exception to the rule.
Groups like the Islamic Society of North America get a free pass when it comes to media coverage. No tough questions are asked about why they launched a legal defense fund for admitted HAMAS terrorist leaders Abu Marzuk and Mohammed Salah. No questions are asked about hosting such controversial figures as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is famous for penning the “theological” justification for suicide bombing that was posted on the HAMAS website, or Rashid Ganushi, who referred to Jews as a “cancer” and “Satans.”…
Read it all.